HTX Comforts of Home 2013
Solar possibilities

Staring at the sun: Houston Solar Tour takes affordable, eco-friendly technology to new heights

Houston Solar Tour takes eco-friendly technology to new heights

Houston Solar Tour panel installation
The 10th annual Houston Solar Tour highlights the most advanced sustainable technology currently available. Courtesy of ASES National Houston Solar Tour / Facebook
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 Heights Intergral Urban Homestead 312 E. 27th St.
Heights Intergral Urban Homestead 312 E. 27th St. Photo courtesy of Houston Solar Tour
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 Texas Solar Outfitters
Texas Solar Outfitters, 705 Shepherd Photo courtesy of Houston Solar Tour
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 Richmond residence 21818 Treemont Hollow Court
Richmond residence 21818 Treemont Hollow Court Photo courtesy of Houston Solar Tour
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 ranch remodel residence 2223 Willoby
Ranch remodel residence 2223 Willoby Photo courtesy of Houston Solar Tour
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 Heights residence 409 W. 8th St.
Heights residence 409 W. 8th St. Photo courtesy of Houston Solar Tour
Houston Solar Tour panel installation
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 Heights Intergral Urban Homestead 312 E. 27th St.
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 Texas Solar Outfitters
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 Richmond residence 21818 Treemont Hollow Court
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 ranch remodel residence 2223 Willoby
Houston Solar Home Tour October 2013 Heights residence 409 W. 8th St.

The Houston Solar Tour celebrates its 10th anniversary Saturday with six open-house locations highlighting some of the most advanced sustainable technologies available today.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Lone Star State boasts the lowest solar installation rates in the nation. As such, Texas has grown to become a surprising proving ground for the ever-growing number of solar possibilities for both residential and commercial buildings.

For homeowners interested in putting that blazing Houston sun to good use, this year's solar tour features a variety of options — from a few small panels on a '60s-era ranch house in Timbergrove to a complex network atop a mansion in Hedwig Village.

Those looking to see just how far eco-friendly design can be taken should stop by The Height’s Integral Urban Homestead, a soon-to-be-completed net-zero home already registered as LEED Platinum (the highest rating offered by the U.S. Green Building Council). The modest house on East 27th Street will employ 100 percent harvested rainwater for drinking and household use.

The free, self-guided Houston Solar Tour runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Texas Solar Outfitters, the headquarters of which also are featured during the event, will host a special breakfast and information session from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Breakfast tacos and coffee from El Rey will be served.